NEW self-service kiosks have been introduced across all Reading libraries; offering a quick and efficient way of issuing, returning and paying for items.
In addition to the new kiosks, since the beginning of March, library users in Reading have started to see a number of changes and improvements to the way the service is delivered.
Customers can now access a new catalogue website that launched on 14th March, designed with enhanced functions and a modern, user-friendly look and feel.
Since the start of April new opening times have been introduced across all library branches. To view the revised times, visit here: www.reading.gov.uk/librarybranches
From the end of April, Palmer Park Library service will be delivered in partnership with Reading College. This creative new model will offer valuable work-based placement opportunities for young people with learning difficulties, supported by college tutors and council staff.
In early 2018, Whitley library will relocate to a new home at South Reading Youth and Community Centre, followed by Southcote library which will relocate to a new home at Southcote Community Centre.
In the last year, the library service has enhanced its offer to members, including the launch of a new eBook service, which gives members the opportunity to download from a choice of hundreds of popular titles. Members can also access a variety of free learning, research and test resources.
Reading Libraries have also benefited from the installation of a brand new computer network and equipment, as well as offering free Wi-Fi across all branches.
Following an extensive service review, a public consultation took place in 2015. As a result of that consultation, the Council has kept all its library branches open.
It has achieved this by delivering the service in new ways, ranging from reduced opening times reflecting customer preference and usage patterns; working collaboratively with partners; better use of buildings; optimising its use of technology and saving money through re-negotiating with stockists.
Councillor Paul Gittings, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Member for Culture and Sport, said:
“I’m pleased to see that all the new self-service kiosks are now successfully in place and offering members a quick and efficient way of issuing, returning and paying for items.
“We are committed to ensuring our libraries continue to be at the heart of communities, helping everyone achieve their full potential. We are making the very best of our available resources, adapting to the changing expectations from residents and building on our increasingly important role as community hubs.”
The changes to the library services are set against the backdrop of increasing funding cuts faced by Reading Borough Council. The Council has agreed £70 million of savings and income generation since 2010. In 2013/14 when the present revenue support grant was introduced the Council received £40.3m; that will be just £10.3m next year and will fall below £2m in 2019/10.
Notes to Editors:
Photo call: There will be a photo opportunity for members of the media at Central Library with Cllr Paul Gittings demonstrating the use of one of the new self-service kiosks on Tuesday 4th April at 10.15am at Reading Central Library.
Photos available on request after this date or available for download at www.flickr.com/photos/readingnewsimages
The full Library Review report to Policy can be viewed here: